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Loftus Road
The Loft
Loftus Road.jpg
Full name Loftus Road Stadium or Rangers Stadium
Location South Africa Road, London W12 7PA
Coordinates 51°30′33″N 0°13′56″W / 51.50917°N 0.23222°W / 51.50917; -0.23222Coordinates: 51°30′33″N 0°13′56″W / 51.50917°N 0.23222°W / 51.50917; -0.23222
Built 1904
Opened 1904
Capacity 20,000
Field dimensions 112 x 72 yards
Tenants
Queens Park Rangers F.C. (1917-present)
London Wasps (Guinness Premiership) (1996-2002)
Fulham F.C. (2002-2004)
Australia (occasional 2001-present)

Loftus Road is a football stadium in Shepherds Bush, London. It is home to the English football team Queens Park Rangers and has a capacity of around 20,000. The four stands are called the Loftus Road End (often shortened to The Loft), Ellerslie Road Stand, South Africa Road Stand and the School End, which is used by away supporters.

Contents

History

The ground was first used on 22 October 1904 by Shepherd's Bush F.C., an amateur side that disbanded in World War I.[1] QPR moved to Loftus Road in 1917, having had their ground at Park Royal commandeered by the army in 1915. At that time the ground was an open field with a pavilion. One stand from Park Royal was dismantled and re-erected forming the Ellerslie Road stand.[2]

In 1938 a new covered terrace for 6,000 spectators was constructed at the Loftus Road end taking the capacity up to 30,000. It cost £7,000 (with £1,500 donated by the QPR Supporters Club) and was opened by the Rt Hon Herbert Morrison at the match vs Crystal Palace on 29 October. [3]

In April 1948, after winning the Third Division (South) championship, the club bought the freehold of the stadium plus 39 houses in Loftus Road and Ellerslie Road for £26,250. When the club's finances were under pressure in the late 1950s the houses had to be sold.

On 5 October 1953 floodlights were used at Loftus Road for the first time for a friendly game against Arsenal.

In 1968/9 the South Africa Road stand was constructed at a cost of £150,000 to replace the old open terracing. In 1972 a new stand was completed in Ellerslie Road, replacing the tin-roofed grandstand. The changing rooms and offices were moved to South Africa Road.

The stadium's highest recorded attendance of 35,353 was in a game against Leeds United on 27 April 1974.

During the summer of 1981 an artificial pitch of Omniturf was installed at Loftus Road, the first such surface to be used in British professional football. It was removed in April 1988 because of football legislation and replaced with grass.

New stands were opened at the School End in the summer of 1980 and one year later at the Loftus Road end. At the same time as the Loftus Road stand was built executive boxes were installed in the lower tier of the South Africa Road stand.

On 8 June 1985 Barry McGuigan successfully challenged Eusebio Pedroza to become WBA world featherweight boxing champion at Loftus Road.

In the summer of 1994 the Loftus Road ground became an all-seater stadium with the construction of seating in the lower Loftus Road stand. The last match where home spectators were able to watch the match from terracing was 16 April 1994 against Everton.

Loftus Road is also a nickname of the Bulgarian FC Spartak Plovdiv ground, the Todor Diev Stadium.

QPR, have moved a staggering 19 times! Welford's Fields (1886-1888), London Scottish FC's Ground (1888-1889), Brondesbury(1888-1889), Home Farm (1888-1889), Kensal Green (1888-1889), Gun Club (1888-1889), Wormwood Scrubs (1888-1889), Killburn Cricket Ground (1888-1889), Kensal Rise Athletic Ground (1899-1901), Latimer Road (1901-1904), Notting Hill (1901-1904), Royal Agricultural Society showgrounds (1904-1907), Park Royal (1904-1907), Park Royal Ground (1907-1917), Loftus Road (1917-1931), White City Stadium (1931-1933), Loftus Road (1933-1962), White City Stadium (1962-1963), Loftus Road (1963-present).

Ground sharing

Loftus Road was home to London Wasps from 1996/97 to 2001/02, having moved from their home in Sudbury, near Wembley in Middlesex. It was part of a 7 year ground share deal, by Chris Wright who had just bought Wasps as rugby union became professional. Wasps agreed to move out, to Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park ground, at the end of the 2001-02 season to allow Fulham F.C. to rent for 2 seasons between 2002 and 2004, while their ground, Craven Cottage, was redeveloped. The success of Wasps at their new ground meant they didn't move back after Fulham left.

Internationals

Loftus Road was the first 'neutral' venue to capitalise on hosting international friendlies not involving England. The ground has subsequently hosted 'home' ties for the Jamaican and Australian national teams to capitalise on the large Australian and Caribbean populations in West London.

In addition, in 2004, as part of the Gillette Tri-Nations rugby league competition, New Zealand played Australia (Australia winning by 32 points to 16). In 2005, Great Britain lost to New Zealand at the stadium in the same competition, 26 - 42.

On the football front, on the November 14 2005, Australia drew 1-1 with Ghana in an international friendly at the ground. 3 years later Australia would play another friendly at Loftus Road against South Africa. The Match ended 2-2.

South Africa Road Stand and The Paddocks

The South Africa Road stand is the biggest of the four stands at Loftus Road. It is a two tier stand which includes The Paddocks and contains a row of boxes separating The Paddocks and the upper tier. It also houses the dugouts, changing rooms, suites, tunnel, offices, club shop, box office and press conference rooms. The Paddocks area is the cheapest in the ground, whereas the upper tier is the most expensive. The new exclusive W12 and C Clubs are located here.

The Loft

The Loft is a two tier stand behind the goal and traditionally where most members and season ticket holders sit. This is third most expensive stand to sit in. QPR generally attack this end in the second half, because it is believed to be good luck. The police are based in this stand and it is home to the members' bar in the ground, The Blue and White Bar. A new colour scoreboard is located at this end, installed in Summer 2008, on the advertising boards between the upper and lower tiers.

The Ellerslie Road Stand

The Ellerslie Road stand, built in 1972, is constantly renamed and sponsored, but QPR fans refer to it as the Ellerslie Road Stand. It is a single tiered stand and is the smallest in height, but not in noise and capacity. It is also the only stand not to be painted in blue and white hoops, instead it has "QPR" painted across it. It is home to the famous "R Block" where, along with the Loft's Q and P blocks sit QPR's partisan following. Most of the noise is generated from this stand, in addition to the Loft. This stand is a favourite of the fans because of the view and atmosphere. This is the second most expensive stand. It is also home to the commentary gantry.

The School End

At the west end of the ground is the School End. In appearance it is a copy of the Loft. Visiting supporters are accommodated in the 'The School End' upper tier; the lower tier is also allocated to them if demand is high. A new big screen was installed on the roof of the School End in the summer of 2008, which joins a new colour scoreboard which is located on the advertising boards between the upper and lower tiers.

The Future

The club continue to insist that they do not have plans to move, and that they will investigate further improvements to Loftus Road before any relocation would occur. However, given the tight constraints on the ground, it is unlikely that the capacity could be increased significantly. A large video screen had been erected on top of this stand which shows match highlights during the game and adverts.

References

  1. ^ Loftus Road Legacy – The History Of Shepherd’s Bush Football Club, Frances Trinder, Yore Publications, ISBN0954783018
  2. ^ The Official History of Queens Park Rangers Football Club, Gordon Macey, Queens Park Rangers FC, ISBN0953636704
  3. ^ http://www.indyrs.co.uk/index.php?s=history&sbutt=Go Indy R’s history accessed: 26 October 2008

External links

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